Louie’s Pumpkin Patch
Here are the progress reports from:
I wish to thank all of those who have helped make this research possible..
2002 Squash, pumpkin and
sweet corn season
year we began somewhat earlier than last year when we visited pumpkin farmers in
the area around Kalmar and Öland on the 17th and 18th of
March. There was much discussion about the previous season and what cultivars
did well and which ones didn’t. It seemed that most of the farmers were
satisfied with the previous season and were looking forward to the new season.
sowed my trials in the same field (about 7 000 m2) as last year. The
crops were rotated so the same crop was not sown on the same area as last year
(a three year rotation is recommended), but in my case because of the small
area, I have used a two-year rotation. As before, the field had been plowed in
the fall and harrowed twice before the 1st of May and fertilized with
NPK (300 N/ha). Part of the field was bedded up on the 10th of May
and was sown the same day with ornamental Indian corn and sweet corn. One
variety of Indian corn and five cultivars of sweet corn (extra sweet se or se+)
were sown as in the previous season. Each cultivar had a different length of
time for maturing. All the sweet corn was bicolor. The temperature was about 20o
C (68o F) at the time of sowing. The sweet corn had started to
come up by the time the pumpkins and squash were sown. A side dressing with
ammonium sulfate was applied on the 20th of June. The next week the
sweet corn was sprayed with herbicide. This was really somewhat late to give the
of squash and pumpkins was on the 15th, 16th, 17th,
18th and 19th of May. The field was sprayed about a week
later with Roundup before emergence. There was a late sowing of 25 cultivars and
lines of summer squash from Kevin Cook, Syngenta, on the 31st of May.
This trial was to score the cultivars and lines for mildew tolerance. The field
was prepared at the same time as it was for sweet corn.
Approx. 200 cultivars and lines of squash and pumpkins were sown. All the
squash and pumpkins were sown direct in hills with rows 2m apart and 2m apart
within the rows. The highest temperature at sowing was about 20o C
(68o F). The spacing made it possible to cultivate down the rows and
across rows. Five to 10 seeds were sown per hill and later thinned to 3 plants
per hill. The first cultivation was made on the 20th of June and was
continued about once a week until the vines or plants were too large to get the
tractor through the rows.
harvest of summer squash began on the 19th of July and continued
until the 24th of September when the first frost came. Some of the
early Halloween pumpkins were harvested in August. These pumpkins were mainly
from the variety “Neon”. This variety has an orange color, which appears to
light up like a neon light. The harvest of the earliest sweet corn began on the
17th of August. Sweet corn harvest continued until the middle of
September. The season for sweet corn ended very early because of the warm dry
serious harvesting of Halloween pumpkins, ornamentals and winter squash began
with the visit and u-pick by the American Women’s Club of Malmö on the 21st
of September. We enjoyed visiting with the families. After the visit to the
field, many of the families visited us at home where they had a picnic in our
backyard. Several members had visited us earlier to pick sweet corn and squash.
was more or less completed on the 23rd of September. This early
harvest was due to the fact that we had been warned about an early frost, which
came on the 24th of September. What we were not able to get in on the
23rd, we gathered together and covered with tarps. The remainder of
the pumpkins was taken in on the 24th of September. In 2001 the first
frost came on the 10th of November and in the year 2000 the first
frost did not come until the 10th of December. We usually figure that
the first frost will come around the 1st of October. With a warm
summer, nearly all the varieties of pumpkins and squash matured. The pumpkins
and squashes had beautiful colors. We had a long dry spell at the end of the
season. On the 12th of August we received 20mm of rain and after this
and until harvest there was not enough precipitation to mention. I do not have
any irrigation, but there seemed to be enough moisture for the plants. The
highest temperature during the summer was nearly 30o C (85o F)
on the 29th of July. All of the pumpkins and squash did well.
Normally the size was somewhat smaller than last year. This was probably due to
a decrease in the amount of fertilizer and availability of moisture.
first fall activity was the “Pumpkin safari”, which was held in association
with “Ekeby Badhus” (Ekeby Bathhouse, or old indoor pool – a culturally
listed protected building built in 1920, now with a new floor covering the old
pool has become a meeting hall) on the 11th of September. We had a
complete dinner with all kinds of pumpkin dishes including soup, salad, main
dish and dessert. My wife Myra and I gave a presentation about growing,
preparation and the nutritive value of squash and pumpkin. After the dinner, we
traveled to the field for a demonstration and U-pick. The second activity was,
as mentioned, for the American Women’s Club of Malmö. On the 22nd
of September we had an exhibition and selling of pumpkins, squash, pumpkin bread
and squash relish at the Harvest Festival at the Stoneware factory in Vallåkra.
The next activity was exhibiting and selling of pumpkins and squash at the
Michael Market on the 29th of September at Fredriksdal by my wife
Myra and me. On the 6th of October, my good friend Bie and I traveled
to Mölndal (outside of Gothenburg) where we had an exhibit and sold pumpkins,
squash, relish, Indian corn and pumpkin bread at the Gunnebo Castle. On the 30th
of October we had a Pumpkin evening at the “Eleby Badhus” where we again had
a pumpkin dinner as before along with demonstrating, exhibiting and selling of
winter squash and pumpkins. The 31st of October, which is Halloween,
we joined “Ekeby Badhus” in having a Halloween event for kids and families.
Our pumpkin workshop, where families could make their own Jack-o-lanterns was a
November we are off to the US. Besides visiting relatives in Texas and Indiana,
we will attend the conference “Cucurbitaceae 2002” in Naples, Florida. We
will also meet old and new friends along with seeing the research of some of the
2001 Squash, pumpkin and sweet corn season.
One might say that the season
began with a visit on the 21st and 22nd of April with pumpkin farmers in the
area around Kalmar and Öland. It was interesting to hear about the past season
and also hear about their expectations for the coming season.
In my trials, I used the
same field as in previous years with about 7,000 m2. The crops were rotated so
the same crop was not sown on the same area as the year before (a three year
rotation is recommended). The field had been plowed the previous fall and
harrowed twice before the 1st of May and fertilized with NPK (300 N/ha). Part of
the field was bedded up on the 11th of May and was sown the same day with Indian
corn and sweet corn. One variety of Indian corn and five varieties of sweet corn
(extra sweet se or se+) were sown. Each variety had different lengths of time
for maturing. All the sweet corn was bicolor. The temperature was about 20C at
the time of sowing. The sweet corn had come up by the time the pumpkins and
squash were sown. A side dressing with ammonium sulfate was applied around the
19th of June. The next week the sweet corn was sprayed with herbicide. This was
really somewhat late to give the best effect.
Sowing of squash and pumpkins
was started on the 21st of May and completed on the 24th of May. The field was
prepared at the same time as it was for sweet corn. Approx. 180 varieties
and lines of squash and pumpkins were sown. All the squash and pumpkins were
sown direct in hills with rows 2m apart and 2m apart within the rows. The
highest temperature at sowing was about 18C. The spacing made it possible to
cultivate down the rows and across rows. The first cultivation was made on
the 14th of June and was continued about once a week until the vines or plants
were too large to get the tractor through the rows.
During the first weeks of June,
we were lucky to have Garth and Barb Neal from New Zealand Hybrid Seed Co.
visiting us. It was great to hear about the production of the hybrid pumpkins,
which they produce. I had some of these varieties in trials this year and the
past years. I have also received their available varieties for trials in 2002.
You can find these varieties and their descriptions on their home page (www.hybridseed.co.nz).
If you live in Sweden and are interested in trialing this varieties, please
The harvest of summer squash
began on the 21st of July and continued until the middle of October. Some
Halloween pumpkins were harvested on the 17th of August. These pumpkins were
from the variety “Neon”, which is considered the world’s earliest
Halloween pumpkin. There was one farmer that sowed this variety the second week
of July and was able to get a good harvest. The first fruits that I harvested
looked matured, but the seeds were not. The harvest of the earliest sweet corn
also began on the 17th of August. Sweet corn harvest continued until the middle
The serious harvesting of
Halloween pumpkins, ornamentals and winter squash began with the visit and
u-pick by the American Women’s Club of Malmö (www.awcmalmo.com)
on the 15th of September. It was an enjoyable day with many families attending.
After the visit to the field, many of the families followed us home to have a
picnic in the backyard.
Harvesting continued until the
middle of October. Nearly all the varieties of pumpkins and squash matured this
year. The weather was very good with enough rain and heat. We did have one long
dry spell with warm weather from about the middle of July until the first week
of August. I do not have any irrigation. There were some wilting of plants
during the day, but they usually recovered during the night. The maximum
temperature during this time was about 28C, but this was only for a couple of
days. All of the kabochas and Hokkaido types along with Halloween pumpkins
and other winter squashes did very well. Only some of the moschatas and
calabas did not do well. These usually need a very long season or some type of
The first exhibit and selling of
pumpkins, squash and sweet corn was at the Michael Market on the 30th of
September at Fredriksdal by my wife Myra and me. On the 5th of October, we
exhibited and sold pumpkins and squash at the square in Skövde, where my
daughter and her family lives. On the 14th of October my good friend Bie and I
traveled to Molndal where we had an exhibit and sold pumpkins, squash, relish,
Indian corn and pumpkin bread at the Gunnebo Castle. On the 3rd and 4th of
November, we also exhibited and sold at the Autumn Agriculture Fair (Höstmässan)
in Malmö. I also used pumpkins, squash and Indian corn to decorate for my
retirement party, which was held at Svalöf Weibull AB’s Cereal Breeding
Department in Landskrona on the 28th of November.
With our trip to the US at the
end of 2001 and beginning of 2002, Myra and I had the pleasure of being able to
visit with Roger and Peggy Rupp along with Duane Bell (Plant Breeder) at Rupp
Seeds, Inc., Wauseon, Ohio. Rupp Seeds has one of the largest selections of
pumpkin and squash seeds. If their homepage is up and running, visit them at www.ruppseeds.com.
I have had several of their varieties in trials and plan to have more this
To the North (not much further north), South, East and West, I wish to thank everyone who has contributed to or participated in field trials. I also wish to thank all who have invited us to exhibit, lecture, sell and give advice on the cultivation and use of Cucurbita. If anyone, especially from Sweden, interested in participating in trials or commercial production of squash and pumpkins, you are welcome to contact me.
2000 Squash, pumpkin and sweet corn season.
This field, which is about 7,000
m2, was harrowed twice before the 1st of May. A border of winter rye was sown
around the field and in alleyways. Fertilizer NPK was applied (300 N/ha) before
the second harrowing. On the 4th of May part of the field was bedded up for
sowing of sweet corn and flowers. Sweet corn was sown at that time. Eight
varieties were sown with 4 rows each and with two rows per bed. Each variety was
of different maturity time. Two varieties were white, se type (extra sweet) and
six varieties were bicolor, se and se+ types (extra sweet). The temperature at
the time of sowing was about 19C. It was perfect conditions for sowing. There
was no plastic mulch or cover used on the sweet corn, squash or pumpkins at the
time of sowing. Most of the corn had come up by the time that the squash and
pumpkins were sown. The sweet corn was sprayed with herbicide in the beginning
of June. A side dressing with ammonium sulfate was applied in the middle of
Squash and pumpkins were not
sown on beds. A demonstration plot from Hammenhög was sown on the 13th of May -
two hills per entry with 1 m between hills and 2 m between rows (about 50
different varieties). The trials of C. moschata were also sown at this
time. The trials of C. pepo were sown on the 14th of May and C.
maximas were sown on the 15th of May. There was no rain during the time of
sowing. The first rain came on the 17th of May. The temperature was cool after
this and it seemed to remain so during most of the summer. Flowers were sown on
beds on the 15th of May. The squash and pumpkins of C. pepo and C.
maxima were sown in hills 2 m within the row and 2 m between rows. This was
done in order to make it possible to cultivate with the tractor in and between
rows. It was over two weeks before the first squash and pumpkin plants appeared.
There were over 150 varieties of squash and pumpkins sown. The first cultivation
was made around the 1st of June. Some of the C. moschatas were covered
with a floating row cover after the first cultivation. This seemed to enhance
the growth of both weeds and squash. At the end of the season, there seemed only
a little difference in the maturity between the covered and uncovered. A side
dressing of ammonium sulfate was made in the middle of June. No fertilizer was
applied after this. There was not much bird damage this year. Two scarecrows
were placed in the field. If these really helped or not, one does not know, but
at least there was less damage done by the birds.
Cultivation of squash, pumpkins
and sweet corn was made regularly until the middle of July when the vines began
covering the area to be cultivated and the corn became too tall. Weeds started
to take over by the middle of August. This was probably helped by the rains and
cool weather, which slowed the growth rate of the squash and pumpkins. At the
time of harvest of winter squash and pumpkins, in many cases it was necessary to
tromp down the weeds to find the fruits.
The first large harvest of
summer squash was at the end of July. Normally, this should have occurred in the
middle of July. The first large harvest of sweet corn was made near the
end of August. The harvest of summer squash and sweet corn continued until the
middle of October, when the field was abandoned for a trip to Australia.
Some of the first winter squash
and pumpkins were harvested during the second week of September. This is
somewhat early, but there was a need to take in some fruits to ripen for use in
The serious harvesting of
winter-squash, pumpkins and ornamentals began during the last week of September
and continued until it was time to pack for our trip to Australia. This was
about the 14th of October. The medium sized pumpkins did much better than any of
the mini-pumpkins. All of the fruits were washed and dried, then placed at home
or on shelves in a storage area at work.
There were several newspaper and
magazine articles that we contributed to and a few exhibits. The first article
was in the newspaper NST on the 18th of September; the second one in "Kvällsposten"
on the 2nd of October; another article in the magazine "Allers" (41)
on the 5th of October; also one in a Danish garden magazine "Haven" in
October; an article was in a Mölndal newspaper on the15th of October; and the
last article was in ICA Kurrien on the 30th of October.
This fall of 2000 we had help or
had our own selling and exhibiting of squash and pumpkins. This started with a
harvest festival on the 17th of September at the Stoneware Factory (Stenkärlsfabriken)
in Vallåkra. My pumpkin friend Bie and his wife Sonja exhibited and sold
pumpkins at Slottsparken in Malmö. On the 14th of October Bie and I traveled to
Mölndal where we had an exhibit and selling at the Gunnesbo Castle.
At the time of writing this, it
is already 2001 and time to determine what did well last season. Most of the new
catalogues have arrived and I have been checking the internet to see what might
be of interest to have in this year's trials. It is also time to contact my
friends at seed companies to see if there are some new exciting varieties coming
on the market.
I want to thank
all of you who have contributed to the field trials, which I have conducted.
Some of these are The Swedish University of Agriculture Sciences, Svalöf
Weibull (Hammenhög), Seminis (Petoseed, Asgrow), Novartis (Rogers), Takii,
Sakata, Hong Nong, Hybrid Seed Company New Zealand Ltd., Abbott & Cobb,
Inc., University of New Hampshire, Gene Banks, friends, colleagues and
cooperating farmers. I thank those who have invited us to exhibit, lecture, sell
and give advice on the cultivation and use of Cucurbita. If anyone, especially
those from Sweden, who reads this and is interested in participating in trials
or commercial production of squash and pumpkins, you are welcome to contact me.
1999 Squash, pumpkin and sweet corn season.
This year's sowing began on the 1st of May, which is usually my sowing date for sweet corn if it is not too cold or too wet. This year the weather was more or less perfect for sowing. The sowing was made on a sandy loam soil which had been harrowed twice. The second harrowing was made after applying about 300 N/ha. There were 11 varieties of sweet corn sown. Nine extra sweet varieties were of se or se+ types. There were 1 yellow, 6 bicolors and 2 white varieties. I had also 2 yellow supersweet sh2 varieties which were grown at work.
Sowing of squash and pumpkins was started on the 17th of May and completed on the 20th of May. The field was prepared at the same time as it was for sweet corn. The sweet corn had already started to come up by the time that I had sown the squash and pumpkins. There were no observations made on the squash and pumpkins until about 2 weeks after sowing. At this time the weeds were starting to come on strong, but it was also noticed that the birds had harvested many of the seeds which were planted. They only left the seed coats. I estimated that the birds had eaten about one-fourth of what I had sown. They removed some lines completely.
In order to try to hold the weeds down, I sprayed the sweet corn with herbicide. In the pumpkin patch I sprayed around the plants with Round-up. In many cases I must have gotten too close or the wind was too strong. Anyway I did away with another fourth of the squash and pumpkin plants. I tried to keep most of the weeds down by cultivating with my landowner's 1947 Ferguson tractor, but it balks from time to time so the weeds grew on. This summer we were away quite a bit do to the wedding of my daughter, visiting relatives and vacation. After this I gave up and let the weeds grow. I hate to think what it will look like in 2000, but I doubt if it will be much different from 1999, because it rained the whole summer of 1998 and there was no possibility of cultivating.
The first harvest of summer squash was made on the 27th of July when we got home from vacation. Of course much of the summer squash had already grown beyond their prime. The summer squash produced till fairly late in the fall because we had a very long warm spell with the first frost coming in the middle of October.
The first sweet corn was harvested on the 12th of August. The sweet corn had different maturity times but were all sown on the same day. The harvest continued until frost. This was a very long season for us.
Harvesting of winter-squash, pumpkins and ornamentals began in the middle of September and continued until frost. Before this, we had visited Öland at the end of August to see how the squash and pumpkins were doing there. We had also visited a couple of other growers here in Scania to check on how the squash and pumpkins had developed. The harvest was very good. The long warm summer gave extremely colorful fruit. This of course should also lead to long storage if the fruits are kept under low humidity and plenty of air circulation.
This year we had three lines from "Louie's Pumpkin Patch" on trial. The first one is a hybrid which I call "Louie's Red". The other two lines are open pollinated lines which I call "Strawberry" and "Navel". I hope you will be able to see these in the above pictures.
This fall we had help or had our own selling and exhibiting of squash and pumpkins. This started with a harvest festival on the 19th and 20th of September at the Stoneware Factory in Vallåkra. Our next exhibit was at Fredriksdal Open Air Museum in Helsingborg. Fredriksdal had a fruit and vegetable exhibit which lasted two weeks and began the last week of September. The first weekend in October found Myra and I on Öland where we helped with selling along with exhibiting squash and pumpkins at Solberga Gården, Köpingsvik. At the same time my good friend Bie and his wife Sonja were exhibiting and selling at the Michael Market at Fredriksdal. On the 17th of October Bie and I traveled to Molndal where we had an exhibit and selling at the Gunnesbo Castle. The last exhibit and selling was at a Christmas Market which was put on by the International Horticulture Students at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Alnarp. Otherwise as long as they last, I have an exhibit and selling of squash and pumpkins at the greenhouse of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Svalöv. Any or all are welcomed to contact me if they would like to come visit.
Now (Winter 99-00) it is time to determine what did well last season, check the new catalogues and internet to see what might be of interest to have in trials. It is also time to see what is coming on the market from contacts. It is always exciting looking forward to the next season.
I wish to thank everyone who has contributed to the field trials which I have conducted. Among those that I want to thank includes The Swedish University of Agriculture Sciences, Svalöf Weibull (Hammenhög), Seminis (Petoseed, Asgrow), Novartis (Rogers), Takii, Sakata, Hong Nong, Hybrid Seed Company New Zealand Ltd., University of New Hampshire, Gene Banks, friends, colleagues and cooperating farmers. I also wish to thank all who have invited us to exhibit, lecture, sell and give advice on the cultivation and use of Cucurbita. If any one especially those from Sweden, who reads this and is interested in participating in trials or commercial production of squash and pumpkins, you are welcomed to contact me.
1998 Squash, pumpkin and sweet corn season.
We started the season somewhat late this year. The sweet corn was sown on May 5 in N. Moinge near Landskrona, Sweden. May had started off with 20C and most of the month was fairly warm. The highest temperature for May was on the 10th with 24C. The average temperature for May was little above normal. On the 17th of May there was Open House at the Alnarp campus of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. A poster about the history of Cucurbita was exhibited along with pictures from last year. Small pumpkin and squash plants were sold by the university. The sweet corn had started coming up when the summer squash, winter squash and pumpkins were sown on the 21st and 22nd of May. This was about one week later than usual time of planting.. This probably was shown to be a mistake when the long cold wet summer set in. Summer and winter squash for transplanting was sown on the 23rd of May in the greenhouse and transplanted outside on the 7th of June. Unfortunately most of these plants were lost due to the storm which blew through a couple of days later. In this group which I was trying to increase the seed, some of the summer squashes only produced female flowers which was probably due to the cold summer. The first plants from direct sowing in the field came up about the 3rd of June. June weather produced about 1/3 more rain than normal and fewer light hours along with lower temperatures than normal. The highest temperature for the month was 23.6C on the 21st. The same type of weather came in July too, except there was about twice as much rain as normal and fewer light hours. It did manage to get up to 27.5C on the 21st and 24.9 on the 23rd. The first blooms on summer squash appeared about the 15th of July with the first large harvest of squash on the 13th of August. The weather in August continued in the same manner as June and July. The highest temperature was 22.7C on the 10th. In September the rain and temperature were about normal, but the light hours were below average. The harvest of pumpkins and winter squash began on the 13th of September and continued through to the middle of October. The quality was fairly poor. The summer was just too wet and cold for the pumpkins and squash to be completely mature. The greys probably did the best. Cultivars like Crown Prince, Autumn Crown and Early-Dri Crown did well and also have stored well. The flesh has been fairly sweet. The Kobacha types have stored well but they are much smaller and less sweet than usual. There were very few of the acorn types. The Halloween types grew fairly well but many rotted shortly after harvest. Their seeds were not mature. The Halloween pumpkins with the precocious yellow gene which were in the trials were misformed and did not grow to full size. These cultivars have been in the trials for four years, but this had never happened before. October's highest temperature was 13.5C and the month turned out to be very wet with three times the normal amount of precipitation. The lower part of the field where the pumpkins were growing became a lake. This area was wet the whole summer and became over grown with weeds due to the impossibility of cultivating. The 1998 harvest was less than half as much as 1997. The area harvested was about the same as the previous year, 2500m2. There were about 150 different cultivars planted, but many of the small ornamental types and Cucurbita moschata did not mature this year.
We really only had one exhibit of pumpkins and squash this year which was at the havest festival in Vallåkra in the middle of September. My daughter Kassie and her fiancée took care of this exhibit while my wife and I were attending a Eucarpia Congress in Viterbo, Italy. The first weekend in October was the harvest festival on Öland, an island in the Baltic Sea off the east coast of Sweden. This year there were more pumpkins than ever. Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere. We had the pleasure of helping with the selling at a U-pick at one of our cooperators. This is the second consecutive year in which the festival has been held and it is now planned that this will continue to be an annual event and will be held the first weekend in October. Öland is known as the sunniest place in Sweden. This year was also the same, but the weather was also bad, but not as bad as northwest Scania. Back in Svalöv, we had a visit from the American Women's Club of Malmö. I had the chance to give a talk about the growing, storing and the cooking of squash and pumpkins. We ended the visit with coffee and pumpkin pie.
There were eight cultivars of sweet corn planted in the field this year. All of these cultivars carried the se or se+ (extra sweet) gene. There were yellow, bicolor and white cultivars. They all had different days to maturity. The first large harvest of sweet corn was on the 17th of September. The last harvest was made on the 31st of October. The quality of the sweet corn was very good and sweetness was maintained for a long time. Frost arrived on the 1st of November. This ended the season. Normally it is figured that the first frost for this area comes around the 1st of October. I also had Indian corn and supersweet (sh2) which I had in the benches at work, but these did not mature. We did use some of the pollen from the supersweet for the pollination of wheat for the production of double haploids.
In October, we had a Halloween dance which our folk dance group sponsored. We also had our traditional Halloween party on the 31st of October. My daughter and her gang set up and decorated for the party along with putting together a haunted house. Halloween is really becoming a true tradition even in Sweden. It helps give a break in the long dark fall and winter.
I wish to thank all of the commercial companies and friends that have contributed to trials of pumpkins, squash and sweet corn. I also wish to thank friends and collaborators who make it possible to try cultivars in many places in Sweden. The weather reports have been kindly provided by Nils-Ove Bertholdsson from the weather station at Svalöf Weibull AB in Svalöv Sweden.
Thanks to everyone for your help.